Last week, I published my first blog in three months, promising to give details of the sixth season of my War Talks programme in early August. I hadn’t expected to be able to deliver it any earlier than that, but thanks to the generosity of the speakers I can at least give an outline (see below). The titles and dates may be amended subsequently, but I wanted to share what had been confirmed at the earliest eventuality. Before I deliver the good news, I’d like to reiterate the point of these Talks: The War Talks series, founded in July 2017, is designed to provide informal professional military education for Defence personnel, both to complement formal education in the profession of arms and to enhance soldier education, which I believe to be insufficient for purpose. The Talks also have a secondary purpose of advertising the work and capabilities of the historic Prince Consort’s Library in Aldershot, the home of the War Talks, to which we have returned full-time after discussions at HQ Army.
From September onwards, all of our Talks will be available by podcast through both The Wavell Room and Facebook Live. Our first speaker in the new Series will be Dr Pippa Malmgren , a former Presidential Advisor to George W. Bush, advisor to the British government, founder of the DPRM Group and co-founder of H Robotics. Dr Malmgren will speak about the future use of drones and artificial intelligence in war. A couple of weeks later, our second speaker will be Vanya Eftimova Bellinger . Vanya is an Assistant Professor of Strategy at the United States Air Force University in Alabama and was formerly a Visiting Professor at the United States Army War College. She will be talking about her acclaimed and award-winning book on Marie von Clausewitz, as well as her recent research on Scharnhorst and the Prussian Army reforms of the early nineteenth century.
October’s first speaker will be Professor Patrick Porter of the University of Birmingham. Professor Porter will speak on the subject of his excellent book on Britain’s role in the campaign in Iraq from 2003 – 2009 which is one of the seven shortlisted books for the British Army Military Book of the Year 2019 (BAMBY19). Professor Porter is followed by an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), Natia Seskuria. Natia serves in the Defence Ministry of the Republic of Georgia and is a Lecturer in Russian Government and Policy at the University of Georgia. Her knowledge of Russian ‘Information Warfare’ in Georgia since the war of 2008 is encyclopaedic and it is on this subject that she will address the War Talks audience.
After we turn the clocks back, our first Talk in November will be given by Professor Anthony King of the University of Warwick. Professor King has worked with the British Army for many years and has written several seminal works on the experience of the British soldier and latterly on command in the twenty-first century. It is upon this complex question that he will speak to us on Bonfire Night. At the end of November, we are fortunate to have Dr Daniel Whittingham of the University of Birmingham as our speaker. Dan is a local man, having been born and brought up in Aldershot, but he is also one of the foremost thinkers on Counter-Insurgency in the United Kingdom. He will speak on the subject of the recent history of this type of warfare and its future direction of travel. Dan will return in the New Year to launch his book on Major General Charles Callwell and his book on Small Wars.
We have two special events in December, the first will be our Christmas Lecture. We are still in negotiation with our speaker for this event, but I will give further details a little closer to the time. In addition, we have the Prizegiving event for the BAMBY19 which will hopefully see the winner talking about their award-winning book. In total since July 2017 we will have had 49 Talks on wide ranging topics, which I hope will have encouraged soldiers to explore the available educational opportunities provided by the Army.
Many thanks and best wishes,